Working at a startup allows employees to work on various projects, often outside their specific title, the team is focused on the company goals and happy whenever someone can roll up their sleeves and get the task done. However, as companies grow employees are often siloed into specific roles and responsibilities, layers of middle management are added, and stepping outside your department could be considered poor behavior.
This creates an odd situation, where the employees that made a company grow and succeed are now being forced into more defined roles and responsibilities, and their opportunities to work on broader initiatives or cross-departmental projects often disappear. While this can be a natural part of a company's growth, it can also limit employees' career development and often pushes the best people away.
Working at a smaller company can be incredibly beneficial.
Benefits of Being a Generalist When you're just starting out in your career, it can be difficult to know exactly what you want to do – and even if you do have a clear idea, you may not have the experience or qualifications to pursue it yet. Working at a startup allows you to gain a wide range of skills and experiences, which can be valuable in any future role you pursue. Being a generalist can also make you a more versatile employee, able to adapt to changing circumstances and take on new challenges.
Opportunities for Cross-Functional Work at a smaller company often mean that you'll have the opportunity to work on projects and initiatives that span multiple departments. This can be incredibly valuable, as it allows you to gain a better understanding of how the different parts of a business work together. It also gives you a chance to build relationships with people across the company, which can be useful for networking and career growth.
Challenges of Being Placed in a Defined Role While being placed in a more defined role can be helpful in some ways – for example, it can make it easier to focus on your specific responsibilities – it can also be limiting. If you're not given the opportunity to work on broader initiatives or cross-departmental projects, you may find that your skills and experiences are becoming more narrow over time. This can make it harder to grow and develop your career.
While there are certain benefits (often financial) to working at larger companies, especially as you advance in your career, there are also many advantages to starting out at a smaller company. However, it is weird to consider that the impact you make to drive growth within the company will eventually prompt you to leave.